During her entertainment career, Eleanor Mondale has had her makeup done quite often -- for four years at E! and at least once a day for another four years at "The Early Show" on CBS. "It was a part of one's life that spoils one. Actually, I tried to learn something from each makeup and hair artist," she said.

However, it wasn't until she met Minnesota professional makeup artist Leilani Baker through a mutual friend that those glamorous red carpet years became part of a serious project. The women really connected (especially over a girls' weekend) on a lot of things, including makeup brushes. "I really love understanding where makeup comes from and why it costs what it does. I shared some facts with Eleanor and she expounded on her experience," said Baker.

Mondale also wondered why $150 brushes would just fall apart. So the two decided to develop their own line of brushes.

They called the company Three Janes. "We were thinking of names that represent everybody, like average Joe and average Jane. We made it Three Janes because there are two of us and everybody else is a Jane, too," said Mondale, adding, "Jane would tell you if you look fat in your jeans."

They might be for everyone, but these brushes aren't average. Baker and Mondale did extensive research, tried to be as eco-conscious as possible (they met with Horst Rechelbacher early on), and made quality a top priority. "We sent the blush brush back so many times because it wasn't thick enough or it was too flimsy or it wasn't soft enough," Baker said. Unlike some brands that number brushes, Three Janes versions are labeled with their uses -- so a powder brush is called a "powder/blush brush."

The resulting brushes are of high enough quality for Baker, a professional, and user-friendly enough for Mondale.

A favorite brush for both is the "push and wiggle," also known as the brow/liner brush. It helps define your lash line and, according to Baker, many makeup artists cut theirs to make them easier to use. With that know-how, the Three Janes brush is angled. "It works for eye liner and a perfect simple brow," Baker said.

Up next, they're developing a "brush bar" to hang your brushes on after washing, because, yes, you should wash them regularly with shampoo and conditioner or face or dish soap.

While Mondale is on leave from her WCCO gig to deal with her ongoing battle with cancer, the plans for Three Janes haven't changed. "We still are two gals with a dream. We have a fantastic product and we expect to build our business slowly and steadily, cancer or no. I prefer the 'no cancer' option, but only time will tell about that one," Mondale said.

The Three Janes collection of brushes is available as a set of eight in a cosmetics case ($200) at Juut locations (www.juut.com) and individually ($9 to $39 each) online at www.threejanes.com.

Sales and events

Tonight, happy hour gets more beautiful. At the lobby bar (The LB) at the Hotel Minneapolis (215 4th St. S., Mpls., 4:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.), you can enjoy a manicure and a martini for $18. Mark your calendar, so you can catch this event again on May 14.

Ensemble (2812 W. 43rd St., Mpls., 612-922-9450, www.shopensemble.com), a favorite Linden Hills boutique, will close on April 25. In the meantime, you can get deals on the current stock. Local kids clothing company Oscar & Belle Organics is planning to open in the space in June.

On Saturday from 1 to 5 p.m., Garage (www.garage.ca), a tween-teen store at the Mall of America, is having a casting call for a girl who embodies the brand's spirit to star in its holiday campaign. Aspiring models should show up with natural makeup and loose hair. The winner will also get a $1,500 wardrobe.

Saturday night, you might check out Envision's spring fashion show (9 p.m., $20 tickets before 10 p.m., www.envisionmpls.com, 612-435-4982) at Graves 601 Hotel (601 1st Av. N., Mpls., 612-677-1100, www. graves601hotel.com). It's hosted by Kristen Aldridge of "ESPN Road Trip" and features designs by locals, including Amanda Christine, Bothdol fashion by Nyamal Both, Jenny Carle, Joynoelle, Kjurek Couture, Peloria, PFT Couture, Re-evolution by Sarah Holm, Renate Adjei and Russell Bourrienne. There will also be a hair show crafted by stylists from Rocco Altobelli and Moxie.

Set those DVRs: Style guru Lloyd Boston's makeover show, "Closet Cases," premieres Monday (9 p.m., on the Fine Living Network, www.fineliving.com/closetcases). He'll do some thorough closet makeovers, including his own mother's.

Sara Glassman • 612-673-7177